As more and more Aussies find themselves working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, they’re discovering that what worked for the odd hour here and there isn’t so hot when it becomes your full-time workplace.
As we find ourselves spending hours each day on Zoom, we’re finding the state of our home offices seriously interfering in our work. Similarly, the unblinking eye of our laptop cameras is revealing our home environments to our audience like never before.
Okay, so our home offices are drowning in clutter. Question is, what’s the best to clean up so we can get down to work quickly, and easily? The solution simple, unleash your inner Marie Kondo!
Think About How You Intend Using Your Home Office
Many of us have carved a space out for a home office. But have you ever sat down and thought about how exactly you want to use your home office? It’s challenging to declutter a space when you haven’t identified which items you need daily and which you don’t want on your desk or in your working space.
Think about how you prefer to work and what tools you’re likely to need within easy reach. Once you get past the laptop, mouse, screen, and printer shortlist, do you need quick access to whiteboards, cork boards, or a reference library to do your work?
Try to anticipate the specific tasks you presently work on or envision doing in your home office once you’re set up. Create a list of all the ways you intend to use your home office space. You may be surprised by the results!
Common activities we undertake when working from the home office include:
- Working online remotely via your computer and printer
- Storing physical files, stationery, work materials office and supplies
- Storage for books, magazines, newspapers and professional journals
- Process paperwork and administrative items
- Collate or prepare documents, presentations and materials
- Conduct telephone calls, virtual meetings (yes Zoom), or tap into webinars
- Meet with clients virtually via Zoom or Skype
- Quiet thinking space
- Brainstorm concepts and ideas
Once you’ve clarified what type of work you’ll be performing in your home office and what type of resources you need on hand, you can start the decluttering process.
Channeling Your Inner Marie Kondo
Your home office should be every bit as functional as your conventional work office. The challenge is to free up space, organize your office layout to ensure your personal and household belongings don’t encroach on your workspace.
One of the first things you’ll discover is a plethora of storage devices and old media lurking in your home office. Dusty videotapes, 8mm film reels, audio reels, even old diskettes. The first thing to do is to take advantage of new VHS to Digital transfer technology and migrate those old content formats. The same goes for those ancient film reels and audiotapes.
You’ll find this will free up an amazing amount of space while giving you easier access to your content via the Cloud, DVD or hard drive.
A Home Office Is Still An Office – So Ditch Your Household Clutter
The first step in decluttering your home office is to sift through the clutter and identify all household or personal items that are not work-related. Those old boxes of photos, kids’ toys, books, sporting gear, appliances, travel souvenirs, and clothing, it all has to go.
Depending on how crammed your home office currently is, this may involve sorting through sundry cupboards, desk drawers, towering pillars of storage boxes or chests and racks of equipment and CD storage boxes
Once you’ve collated everything that has to go, you’ll need to redistribute those reject items where they belong in your home. Clothing and accessories can return to your bedroom clothes closet or dresser. Children’s toys can go back to your chid’s toy box in their bedroom or nursery, while gym gear or sporting equipment is destined for the garage!
Decluttering Your Home Office Workstation
The rule of konmarie is to tidy your space and transform your life. While it’s fine to have office stationery close to hand and even position a few personal items on your workstation, you don’t want to be drowning in these items while you’re trying to work! Always remember, your home office workspace is intended to be a place where you can think and work, rather than being a clutter magnet.
Think holistically. Take a long, hard look at your working space. Ergonomics matters in the home office too! Stand up, take a few paces away and see what your workstation looks like.
Similarly, in the age of Zoom, check what your laptop camera is showing as a backdrop to your online conference calls. Positioning a few reference books, small artwork or a healthy indoor plant can redefine your whole online home office vibe for your Zoom audiences.
So, what does your home office workstation look like? What’s currently on your desk, under it, and beside your workspace? Which elements can you put away or store somewhere else in your home office?
If you are a clutter bug, it shouldn’t be that hard to identify a couple of candidates to be relocated, recycled or removed altogether.
You’ll be surprised how this simple exercise can transform a cluttered home office space. Simply clearing your desk, purging that tottering stack of old newspapers, magazines or journals and relegating your office stationery to your storage closet can free up so space giving you way more room to write, think and compose.
Final Observation – Decluttering Checklists Rule
Once you’ve transformed your home office space into a digital nirvana, it’s important to keep your workspace shipshape. Consider including regular decluttering tasks into your new working from home office routine.
Checklists are simple, space-efficient, and visual enough to help you keep track of your housekeeping. Look to schedule these tasks on a weekly or monthly basis, so clutter doesn’t stage a comeback.
If despite your best efforts, your home office space seems determined to be a clutter magnet, step up your decluttering sessions. If you declutter monthly aim for weekly. Penciling in a quick purge in your calendar for the end of each working week can help you to maintain that neat and tidy home office you were aiming for when you began.
If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.